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Daniel Stern, Martin Richter, Livia Schrick, Peter Lasch, Kathrin Keeren, Angela Polleichtner, Karin Lemmer, Andreas Nitsche, Roland Grunow, Christian Herzog, Brigitte G Dorner, Lars Schaade
In Europe, besides the threat of terrorist attacks involving conventional methods such as explosive devices and automatic weapons, there is also a potential threat of terrorist groups using non-conventional material like biological agents in the scope of future attacks. Consequently, rapid and reliable detection systems for biological agents are being developed and tested continuously to inform crisis management. For environmental detection, a broad spectrum of different laboratory-based techniques has been developed for relevant biological agents...
October 24, 2016: Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz
Iuliia Gilchuk, Pavlo Gilchuk, Gopal Sapparapu, Rebecca Lampley, Vidisha Singh, Nurgun Kose, David L Blum, Laura J Hughes, Panayampalli S Satheshkumar, Michael B Townsend, Ashley V Kondas, Zachary Reed, Zachary Weiner, Victoria A Olson, Erika Hammarlund, Hans-Peter Raue, Mark K Slifka, James C Slaughter, Barney S Graham, Kathryn M Edwards, Roselyn J Eisenberg, Gary H Cohen, Sebastian Joyce, James E Crowe
Monkeypox (MPXV) and cowpox (CPXV) are emerging agents that cause severe human infections on an intermittent basis, and variola virus (VARV) has potential for use as an agent of bioterror. Vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) has been used therapeutically to treat severe orthopoxvirus infections but is in short supply. We generated a large panel of orthopoxvirus-specific human monoclonal antibodies (Abs) from immune subjects to investigate the molecular basis of broadly neutralizing antibody responses for diverse orthopoxviruses...
October 20, 2016: Cell
Paul Bayman, Luz M Serrato-Díaz
Forensic phytopathology is the application of plant pathology to legal or criminal matters. It is an emerging field. The existing literature focuses mainly on potential agricultural bioterrorism threats to the United States. Here we try to take a broader view including agricultural bioterrorism, mycoherbicide applications to eradicate plants used for illegal drugs, civil cases involving charges of sale or movement of diseased plants, and mycotoxins. In several of the examples given the evidence is inconclusive, but the examples are no less interesting for that...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Steven E Massey
Forensic science concerns the application of scientific techniques to questions of a legal nature and may also be used to address questions of historical importance. Forensic techniques are often used in legal cases that involve crimes against persons or property, and they increasingly may involve cases of bioterrorism, crimes against nature, medical negligence, or tracing the origin of food- and crop-borne disease. Given the rapid advance of genome sequencing and comparative genomics techniques, we ask how these might be used to address cases of a forensic nature, focusing on the use of microbial genome sequence analysis...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Wei Sun
Three major plague pandemics caused by the gram-negative bacterium Yersinia pestis have killed nearly 200 million people in human history. Due to its extreme virulence and the ease of its transmission, Y. pestis has been used purposefully for biowarfare in the past. Currently, plague epidemics are still breaking out sporadically in most of parts of the world, including the United States. Approximately 2000 cases of plague are reported each year to the World Health Organization. However, the potential use of the bacteria in modern times as an agent of bioterrorism and the emergence of a Y...
2016: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Zhizhen Qi, Yujun Cui, Qingwen Zhang, Ruifu Yang
This chapter summarized the taxonomy and typing works of Yersinia pestis since it's firstly identified in Hong Kong in 1894. Phenotyping methods that based on phenotypic characteristics, including biotyping, serotyping, antibiogram analysis, bacteriocin typing, phage typing, and plasmid typing, were firstly applied in classification of Y. pestis in subspecies level. And then, with the advancement of molecular biological technology, the methods based on outer membrane protein profiles, fatty acid composition, and bacterial mass fingerprinting were also used to identify the populations within Y...
2016: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Xiao Liu, Yong Zhao, Chongyun Sun, Xiaochen Wang, Xinrui Wang, Pingping Zhang, Jingfu Qiu, Ruifu Yang, Lei Zhou
Abrin is a natural plant toxin found in the seeds of Abrus precatorius. It may be used for food poisoning or bioterrorism, seriously endangering public health. In this study, a reliable method for the rapid detection of abrin in foods was developed, based on an up-converting phosphor technology-based lateral flow assay (abrin-UPT-LFA). Nine high-affinity monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against abrin were prepared, and the optimum mAbs (mAb-6F4 and mAb-10E11) were selected for use in the assay in double-antibody-sandwich mode...
October 5, 2016: Scientific Reports
Kristen M Holland, Sarah J Rosa, Karsten R O Hazlett
One of the hallmarks of pulmonary tularemia, which results from inhalation of Francisella tularensis - a significant bioterrorism concern, is the lack of an acute TH1-biased inflammatory response in the early phase of disease (days 1-3) despite significant bacterial loads. In an effort to understand this apparent hypo-responsiveness, many laboratories have utilized in vitro cell-based models as tools to probe the nature and consequences of host cell interactions with F. tularensis. The first uses of this model suggested that mammalian host cells recognize this bacterium principally through TLR2 to evoke a robust, classical TH1-biased cytokine response including TNF, IL-6, IL-1β, and IFN-γ...
June 2016: Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense
Crystal J Jaing, Kevin S McLoughlin, James B Thissen, Adam Zemla, Shea N Gardner, Lisa M Vergez, Feliza Bourguet, Shalini Mabery, Viacheslav Y Fofanov, Heather Koshinsky, Paul J Jackson
Francisella tularensis is classified as a Class A bioterrorism agent by the U.S. government due to its high virulence and the ease with which it can be spread as an aerosol. It is a facultative intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is a broad spectrum antibiotic effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Increased Cipro resistance in pathogenic microbes is of serious concern when considering options for medical treatment of bacterial infections. Identification of genes and loci that are associated with Ciprofloxacin resistance will help advance the understanding of resistance mechanisms and may, in the future, provide better treatment options for patients...
2016: PloS One
Miriam A Balderas, Chinh Nguyen, Austen Terwilliger, Wendy A Keitel, Angelina Iniguez, Rodrigo Torres, Frederico Palacios, Celia W Goulding, Anthony W Maresso
Bacillus anthracis is a sporulating Gram-positive bacterium that is the causative agent of anthrax and a potential weapon of bioterrorism. The U.S. licensed anthrax vaccine is made from an incompletely characterized culture supernatant of a nonencapsulated, toxigenic strain (anthrax vaccine absorbed - AVA) whose primary protective component is thought to be protective antigen (PA). AVA is effective in protecting animals and elicits toxin-neutralizing antibodies in humans, but enthusiasm is dampened by its undefined composition, multi-shot regimen, recommended boosters, and potential for adverse reactions...
September 19, 2016: Infection and Immunity
Jason G Glanzer, Brendan M Byrne, Aaron M McCoy, Ben J James, Joshua D Frank, Greg G Oakley
Ebola virus continues to be problematic as sporadic outbreaks in Africa continue to arise, and as terrorist organizations have considered the virus for bioterrorism use. Several proteins within the virus have been targeted for antiviral chemotherapy, including VP35, a dsRNA binding protein that promotes viral replication, protects dsRNA from degradation, and prevents detection of the viral genome by immune complexes. To augment the scope of our antiviral research, we have now employed molecular modeling techniques to enrich the population of compounds for further testing in vitro...
November 1, 2016: Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry
Samuel M Pope
The purpose of this communication is to explore the implications of genome editing techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas9, on public health-related responses to outbreaks of disease. The recent commercialization of genome editing techniques makes the creation and release of genetically altered pathogens a much easier task, increasing the possibility to the point of needing discussion. Three areas need to be addressed: predictions concerning potential genetic alterations, predictions and implications concerning the release of genetically altered pathogens, and the short- and long-term implications of the release of genetically altered pathogens...
September 19, 2016: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Amanda E Jetzt, Xiao-Ping Li, Nilgun E Tumer, Wendie S Cohick
Ricin is a potent ribotoxin that is considered a bioterror threat due to its ease of isolation and possibility of aerosolization. In yeast, mutation of arginine residues away from the active site results in a ricin toxin A chain (RTA) variant that is unable to bind the ribosome and exhibits reduced cytotoxicity. The goal of the present work was to determine if these residues contribute to ribosome binding and cytotoxicity of RTA in mammalian cells. The RTA mutant R193A/R235A did not interact with mammalian ribosomes, while a G212E variant with a point mutation near its active site bound ribosomes similarly to wild-type (WT) RTA...
November 1, 2016: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Pennelope K Blakely, Amanda K Huber, David N Irani
BACKGROUND: Alphaviruses can cause fatal encephalitis in humans. Natural infections occur via the bite of infected mosquitos, but aerosol transmissibility makes some of these viruses potential bioterrorism agents. Central nervous system (CNS) host responses contribute to alphavirus pathogenesis in experimental models and are logical therapeutic targets. We investigated whether reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (Nox) activity within the CNS contributes to fatal alphavirus encephalitis in mice...
2016: Journal of Neuroinflammation
Antonio Candeliere, Emanuele Campese, Adelia Donatiello, Stefania Pagano, Michela Iatarola, Francesco Tolve, Leonardo Antonino, Antonio Fasanella
The use of products that can neutralize or significantly reduce the microbial load and that are not harmful to human health and the environment represents a milestone in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases. Peracetic acid, besides being an excellent sterilizing and sporicidal agent, is harmless to humans and the environment when it is used in a common dosage. However, the high costs and loss of efficacy of the product very quickly after its reconstitution limit its use. We evaluated the efficacy and stability of 2 commercial products, based on stabilized peracetic acid (Pathoster(®) 0...
July 2016: Health Security
Monisha Gopalani, Alisha Dhiman, Amit Rahi, Divya Kandari, Rakesh Bhatnagar
Two component systems (TCSs) can be envisaged as complex molecular devices that help the bacteria to sense its environment and respond aptly. 41 TCSs are predicted in Bacillus anthracis, a potential bioterrorism agent, of which only four have been studied so far. Thus, the intricate signaling network contributed by TCSs remains largely unmapped in B. anthracis and needs comprehensive exploration. In this study, we functionally characterized one such system composed of BAS0540 (Response regulator) and BAS0541 (Histidine kinase)...
2016: PloS One
Xin-He Lai, Long-Fei Zhao, Xiao-Ming Chen, Yi Ren
Francisella tularensis is the causative pathogen of tularemia and a Tier 1 bioterror agent on the CDC list. Considering the fact that some subpopulation of the F. tularensis strains is more virulent, more significantly associated with mortality, and therefore poses more threat to humans, rapid identification and characterization of this subpopulation strains is of invaluable importance. This review summarizes the up-to-date developments of assays for mainly detecting and characterizing F. tularensis and a touch of caveats of some of the assays...
2016: Open Microbiology Journal
Linda H M Van de Burgwal, Leslie A Reperant, Albert D M E Osterhaus, Sorana C Iancu, Esther S Pronker, Eric Claassen
OBJECTIVE: Barriers to international Ebola preparedness may be elucidated by identifying heterogeneities in arguments to invest in countermeasures during "peace time." METHODS: For each patent family (related patent documents that differed only by limited alterations to the same invention) concerning Ebola and published until the end of 2014 the oldest patent document was analyzed. Grounded theory coding identified 5 unmet needs for (1) vaccines and therapies, (2) control of outbreaks in endemic areas, (3) detection and control of outbreaks in nonendemic areas, (4) better understanding of filoviruses, and (5) protection against bioterrorism...
August 2016: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Chulwoo Rhee, Howard Burkom, Chang-Gyo Yoon, Miles Stewart, Yevgeniy Elbert, Aaron Katz, Sangwoo Tak
Driven by the growing importance of situational awareness of bioterrorism threats, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States have constructed a joint military capability, called the Biosurveillance Portal (BSP), to enhance biosecurity. As one component of the BSP, we developed the Military Active Real-time Syndromic Surveillance (MARSS) system to detect and track natural and deliberate disease outbreaks. This article describes the ROK military health data infrastructure and explains how syndromic data are derived and made available to epidemiologists...
May 2016: Health Security
Norman A Doggett, Harshini Mukundan, Elliot J Lefkowitz, Tom R Slezak, Patrick S Chain, Stephen Morse, Kevin Anderson, David R Hodge, Segaran Pillai
The past decade has seen considerable development in the diagnostic application of nonculture methods, including nucleic acid amplification-based methods and mass spectrometry, for the diagnosis of infectious diseases. The implications of these new culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) include bypassing the need to culture organisms, thus potentially affecting public health surveillance systems, which continue to use isolates as the basis of their surveillance programs and to assess phenotypic resistance to antimicrobial agents...
May 2016: Health Security
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